Day 14 | April 22, 2004
After spending the morning in the 'Lost World' of Agrigan sampling fumaroles, we (Alison, Dave, and Toby) were dropped off on Asuncion, the next island up in the Mariana chain. As Mike took off to join the other group, we were left feeling somewhat marooned on this deserted island. Nobody lives on Asuncion since it is a wildlife sanctuary and special permission is required to even land. Rather than tackling the daunting peak that afternoon, we decided to start with a casual stroll along the rocky shoreline. We sampled two different lava flows and several scoria units in the cliffs above the flows. In addition to rocks, the shore hosts various creatures including crabs, eels and a whole plethora of tropical fish. Back at camp, Toby made good use of his geologic tools and prepared us some refreshments, while I made good use of some silicon tubing to maximize my drinking efficiency.
The next morning Toby and I decided to make the treacherous ascent up the volcano, while Dave continued sampling the rocks along the shore. Armed with a blunt machete and our hammers we fought our way through the dense jungle for several hours. Although we were disappointed to find that the rocks near the top were very similar to those just steps away from our camp, we were fortunate to spot some of the local wildlife. Spiders, my personal favorite, are everywhere. The Asuncion varieties come in all colors and sizes. We were also lucky to see some Mariana fruit bats flying around and hanging upside down sleeping. Our most surprising find, was a massive coconut crab living 500m up the volcano. How he got up there is a mystery. After four hours of hiking, we took a rest and reassessed our goals. Looking back at the camp, we could see Dave napping and decided it was time to join him.
Our 4-day odyssey actually finished one day early with a helicopter transfer to Maug and rescue by the R/V Wecoma. We were so happy to be on a rolling deck and - after the crew had suitably hosed us off - able to take a hot shower in our own private quarters.